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European Commission threatens Britain

Ursula von der Leyen warned that the Brexit trade deal has "real teeth" as MEPs branded leaving the EU a "historic mistake" on Tuesday.

Ursula is an extremely experienced German politician so it is rather surprising that she thinks threats would work on Britain. And that is more so because the threat is an empty one. The British bulldog has teeth too, rather sharp teeth.

It is the EU that would be the loser in a trade war as Britain is a much bigger buyer of EU products than the EU is a buyer of British products.

In particular, German cars find a large part of their market in Britain. So if Britain welcomed any tariffs imposed by the EU by an embargo on EU motor vehicles, it would throw large numbers of workers in the EU motor industry onto unemployment or short time. Given the strong political influence of the German auto unions, that would be intolerable to the German government and would immediatey lead to an abrupt about-face. Just the threat would probably work wonders.


The European Commission president said that Brussels would not hesitate to hit Britain with trade tariffs if it failed to implement its commitments in Northern Ireland, before the European Parliament voted to ratify the deal in the final step of the years-long Brexit negotiations.

The European Commission president said enforcement mechanisms in the deal were “essential” to ensure the UK complied with level playing field rules in the trade deal and the Withdrawal Agreement, which includes the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Mrs von der Leyen’s warning came as France, embroiled in a row over fishing licences with the UK, said the EU would hit sectors such as financial services with tariffs if the UK did not properly implement the Brexit fishing agreement.

The trade deal has a dispute mechanism that can lead to tariffs being imposed if one side diverges too far from agreed common standards. The agreement’s enforcement measures also allow for cross-cutting retaliatory tariffs in a specific sector as a result of a dispute in another.

Mrs von der Leyen said, “This agreement comes with real teeth with a binding dispute settlement mechanism and the possibility for unilateral remedial measures were necessary. And let me be very clear. We do not want to have to use these tools, but we will not hesitate to use them if necessary.”

Britain angered Brussels by unilaterally extending grace periods in the Protocol and the European Commission has begun legal action against the UK.

The grace periods exempt exports from Britain to Northern Ireland from customs checks on meat products and parcels. The UK has also carved out exemptions from EU rules on soil and pet passports.

Clément Beaune, France’s Europe Minister, said the deal was not a “blank cheque” as the row with the UK over fishing licences for French boats in the Channel continued.

“If the UK does not enforce it, we will respond with retaliatory measures,” he said.

The European Parliament branded Brexit a “historic mistake” in a resolution that criticises criticised Britain over the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol and hailed EU victories in the trade talks.

MEPs are expected to overwhelmingly back the trade agreement in the vote, which is the final step to conclude the years of Brexit negotiations begun with the triggering of Article 50 in March 2017. The results of the consent vote and the vote on the resolution will be announced on Wednesday morning.

The trade deal was provisionally applied at the end of last year because the negotiations ended so close to the no deal deadline and there was not enough time for the European Parliament to scrutinise the agreement.

MEPs are unlikely to vote against the agreement because it would cause a no deal, which would be damaging for both sides, and are also expected to comfortably pass the non-binding resolution.

It stated, “The UK’s withdrawal from the EU is a historic mistake and recalls that the EU has always respected the UK’s decision while insisting that the UK must also accept the consequences of leaving the EU.”

It added, “It is a logical consequence of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and in particular the ending of freedom of movement, that the opportunities for the UK’s largely service-based economy are vastly reduced.”

The resolution accuses Britain of “depriving young people of such a unique opportunity” by refusing to continue participating in the Erasmus student exchange programme.

MEPs attacked Boris Johnson before voting for the trade agreement. Manfred Weber, the German leader of the centre-Right European People's Party, and Philippe Lamberts, the Belgian co-president of the Greens, blamed Mr Johnson for the recent riots in Northern Ireland.

“Violence in Northern Ireland is Brexiteer violence – they are responsible,” Mr Weber said. Mr Lamberts said, "If we have violence in Northern Ireland it is because of the lies, and I repeat lies, of Boris Johnson who is trying to make up that nothing would happen to Ireland if this went through."

Andreas Schieder, a socialist senior MEP from Austria, said, "Brexit is a serious mistake and it is the weakest in society who will suffer from this mistake – it’s not the millionaires who pumped money into the Brexit. But we have to recognise the decision after all these years."

“Everybody has to shoulder the responsibility and respect what they have signed up to,” warned Michel Barnier, the EU’s former negotiator, in a farewell speech after leaving the commission earlier this year.

Mr Barnier added, “This is a divorce. It's a warning, Brexit, and it's a failure. A failure of the European Union's, and we have to learn lessons from it.”

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The old food scare again

Malthus call your office! The real-life problem with food production is glut. Food crops normally exceed demand

But the Greenies "created a model" so there! Models trump reality anytime



While the global population continues to rise, a new study indicates agricultural productivity has plummeted due to the effects of climate change.

Worldwide, farmers are growing 20 percent less food than they would be if environmental conditions were the same as they were in the 1960s.

The primary is changing weather patterns, researchers say, including increased flooding and droughts in different areas.

The drastic and unexpected shifts associated with climate change make it harder for harmers to plan productive strategies to yield the most successful harvest.

Topical regions like Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa have been hit the worst, with agricultural growth a third of what it could be.

Total factor productivity is a measure of economic efficiency commonly used to determine how industries are growing, typically by comparing the ratio of input to results.

But, in agriculture, farmers aren't in control of all the factors affecting their output, making productivity tricky to calculate.

'When a farmer makes an economic decision like what to plant in June, we won't necessarily know the outcome of that decision until six months later,' said Robert Chambers, a professor of agriculture at the University of Maryland.

'So there is a distinct break between input and output, and random events like weather can severely affect that,' added Chambers, co-author of a new study in the journal Nature Climate Change.

'Productivity calculations for agriculture haven't historically incorporated weather data, he said, 'but we want to see the trends for these inputs that are out of the farmer's control.'

Chambers and Ariel Ortiz-Bobea, an economist at Cornell University, created a model to calculate productivity both as it is now and where it would be if weather patterns had stayed where they were decades ago.

They found a 21 percent reduction in global agricultural productivity since 1961, the equivalent of losing the last seven years of growth.

With a world population of nearly 10 billion expected by 2050, scientists warn that it's essential agricultural productivity doesn't just stabilize, but grows faster than ever before +3
With a world population of nearly 10 billion expected by 2050, scientists warn that it's essential agricultural productivity doesn't just stabilize, but grows faster than ever before

The effects, however, are not uniform: Warmer regions like Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean have experienced slows in growth of between 26 percent and 34 percent, the study concluded.

The US only saw declines in growth of approximately 5 percent to 15 percent.

'Some people think about climate change as a distant problem, something that should concern primarily future generations,' said Ortiz-Bobea. 'Our study finds that [man-made] climate change is already having a disproportionate impact on poorer countries that depend primarily on agriculture,' he added.

The technological progress that's led to better pesticides and hybrid crops 'has not yet translated into more climate resilience,' he added.

With a world population of nearly 10 billion expected by 2050, Chambers warned that it's essential agricultural productivity doesn't just stabilize, but grows faster than ever before.

'This gives us an idea of trends to help see what to do in the future with new changes in the climate that are beyond what we've previously seen,' he said.

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Nursery teachers must teach toddlers about 'white privilege' so they can learn to 'develop anti-racist views', unions say

LOL. Teaching toddlers this crap will certainly give them exactly the "wrong" message. Being told that they are privileged will make them PROUD of being white and make them look down on non-whites.

The message is an inherently racist one and will simply inculcate racism in a generation of kids


Nursery teachers should be telling toddlers about 'white privilege' so they can learn to 'develop anti-racist views', according to teaching unions.

The new 128-page guidance has been given as an alternative to the Government's statutory guidance and has received criticism from Conservative MPs.

It was issued after an official government report concluded that factors such as family structure and socio-economic background had 'more significant impact on life chances than the existence of racism'.

The guidance adds that 'children's racial prejudice' is at risk of being 'maintained or reinforced' unless teachers received training in 'understanding white privilege' and 'systemic racism', according to The Telegraph.

Conservative MPs argued on Saturday that teaching toddlers about white privilege risked 'becoming some kind of political Soviet indoctrination session'.

The guidance, called Birth to 5 Matters, was developed by a group of 18 including the National Education Union, the National Day Nurseries Association and the Association for Professional Development in Early Years.

While the Government's guidance states that five-year-old children should 'know some similarities and differences between different religious and cultural communities in this country', Birth to 5 Matters advises staff 'talking about race is a first step to countering racism'.

The advice, seen by The Telegraph, continues: 'It is a mistaken assumption that treating all people in the same way and ignoring differences in race is a sufficient response to racism.

'This approach simply allows the continuation of bias in society which disadvantages people from black and minoritised groups.

'Practitioner training is an important step toward opening dialogue and developing understanding about white privilege, systemic racism, and how racism affects children and families in early years settings.

'It is also time to challenge the widespread notion that 'children do not see race' and are colour blind to difference.

'When adults are silent about race, children's racial prejudice and misconceptions can be maintained or reinforced.'

The chairman of the House of Education select committee called the advice 'unacceptable' and said it 'insults white working class people from disadvantaged backgrounds'.

He said: 'The whole purpose of children learning is to learn, not for some kind of political Soviet indoctrination session.'

Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch has previously said that teachers who tell their pupils that white privilege is a fact are breaking the law.


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Misogynistic 'radicalisation' of boys online has these experts calling for change

How surprising! The unhinged Leftist attack on men and maleness is provoking a backlash. Young men who don't like the anti-male messages that flood them from the educational system are reacting and seeking out more congenial messages. So abandoning moderation and balance leads to imbalance in the opposite direction.

Leftists are always surprised by backlash but their unbalanced messages will always provoke it. Unbridled hostility to men is highly likely to lead towards hostility to women. "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction". That is nearly as true in sociology as it is in physics. If you treat men as the enemy they may well become that. And calling maleness "toxic" is a good way to bring that about


For many, misogyny on the internet is depressingly familiar. In Australia, 65 per cent of girls and young women have reported being harassed or abused online.

But some experts are arguing that in a "manosphere" of online anti-women groups, methods of communication and organisation are becoming more sophisticated.

At the more serious end of the spectrum, these experts say, are operators that must be seen and named as "extremist" or "terrorist" groups – particularly if anything is to be done to stop them.

UK author Laura Bates has spent most of the last decade educating school children about sexism. She says in the last few years she's noted an increasing sense of hostility, aggression and anger in boys' attitudes towards women, and argues online hate groups are to blame. "There [is] a kind of radicalisation, a kind of grooming happening online," Ms Bates tells RN's Life Matters.

She describes "a very gradual, slippery process" whereby young men's problems and insecurities are co-opted by organised online extremist groups.

In order to connect to young men, the groups cite real-world problems men are dealing with, such as workplace injuries, cancer, mental health and suicide. But instead of tackling those issues, the groups reinforce "the stereotypes that are actually causing them", Ms Bates says.

"So they double down on the idea that men have to be tough and manly, that they have to be strong, not vulnerable, that they shouldn't share emotions, that exerting power and control over women and over societies is what it means to be a real man."

Ms Bates says anti-women rhetoric is so pervasive online that it's normalised. In this climate, groups have emerged spouting dangerous ideologies, including "women being evil and about men needing to rise up and crush them, to rape women to force them into sexual servitude, and to murder them".

She believes they should be classified as terrorist groups.

"In any other case, where somebody goes out and attacks a specific demographic group with the intent of causing enormous harm and fear in that group because of radicalisation, because of the fact that they've been explicitly groomed to hate that group, we would describe it as a form of terrorism," Ms Bates says.

Joshua Roose, a senior research fellow at Deakin University who specialises in masculinities and extremism, echoes Ms Bates' call for a change of language. He says there's a strong "normative anti-women attitude in society" that feeds into online activities and behaviour.

His research, for example, has looked at the proposition that women deserve equal rights to men, and found that only one in 17 men disagree. But among men under the age of 35, that figure grows substantially to one in three men disagreeing.

Ms Bates is clear about not wanting to demonise young men. "It's important to say that this is not about maligning or accusing teenage boys. Many of these boys are very, very vulnerable. And these online communities are extremely adept and clever at preying on them," she says.

Rather, she argues that when boys are exposed from a young age to misogynistic messages and ideologies online, without other information being provided to them, "you end up with a very real sense of confusion amongst young people".

Both Bates and Dr Roose argue that misogynistic attitudes, behaviour and communities online can't be stamped out without broader societal change.


Another stupid prophecy about the reef

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What the future temperature will be nobody knows. But the report below assumes a large rise. Even if that came to pass, it would not mean the end of the reef. Corals grow in wildly different temperatures -- from Iceland to the Persian gulf. So we might expect some turnover of species but that is all

It's boring to have to point this out again but Australian corals have the greatest diversity in the Torres Strait, where the temperature is always HIGH. Corals THRIVE in high temperatures. Some species may not but there are plenty that do



A damning new report has painted a grim picture of Australia’s future, with one of the nation’s most renowned natural wonders set to suffer.

Up to 90 per cent of the world’s coral reefs are expected to vanish, even at low levels of warming, and there are grave fears for one of Australia’s most famous natural wonders. The outlook for the Great Barrier Reef is considered “very poor”, according to a new report by the Australian Academy of Science.

And climate change is a major driver.

At 1.5 degrees of warming, the world will lose between 70 and 90 per cent of coral reefs.

“Substantial losses in ocean productivity, ongoing ocean acidification, and the increasing deterioration of coastal systems such as mangroves and seagrasses are projected to occur if global warming exceeds 2C,” the harrowing report states.

Scientists said the target set by the Paris Climate Agreement of keeping global warming to 1.5C was “virtually impossible” as they painted a grim picture for Australia’s ecosystems.

It is more likely that global temperatures will soar by up to 3C. "Critical thresholds in many natural systems are likely to be exceeded as global warming of 1.5C above pre-industrial levels continues,” the report said.

“These impacts will increase as global warming reaches 2C and beyond, with iconic ecosystems such as the Great Barrier Reef and the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park being severely affected.

“At 3C of global warming, many of Australia’s ecological systems would be unrecognisable.”

A leading figure within the European Union has even sounded the alarm on the Great Barrier Reef.

The EU’s commissioner for environment, oceans and fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius, told Guardian Australia he feared for the natural wonder. “As long as we do not change our behaviours, things will not improve,” he said.

Global warming has already triggered mass bleaching events on the Great Barrier Reef that have destroyed at least half of the world’s largest reef system. It has also contributed to droughts and bushfires.

Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, who chairs the expert panel that developed the report, said a rapid transition to net zero greenhouse gas emissions was required if the international community was to limit warming to well below 2C.

“Current international commitments to greenhouse gas emission reduction, if unchanged, would result in average global surface temperatures that are 3C above the pre-industrial period in the lifetimes of our children and grandchildren,” he said.

“The evidence presented in this risk-assessment report, which is based on peer-reviewed scientific literature, indicates that this would have serious consequences for Australia and the world.”

But scientists said it was possible for Australia to meet its climate goals.

Australian Academy of Science president John Shine said the new report suggested while the planet was warning, science had its solutions.

“Australia is well positioned to meet the climate change challenge by combining our scientific knowledge with economic opportunities associated with moves to net zero greenhouse gas emissions,” Professor Shine said.

The report makes 10 recommendations, including scaling up the development and implementation of next-generation zero greenhouse gas technologies and exploring how food production and supply systems can prepare for climate change.


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Another attack on your bacon and sausages

The usual story: Tiny hazard ratios taken seriously. This is particularly unimpressive when one notes the international data sources -- very different countries and cultures. The opportunity for confounding variables was obviously large.

Maybe some people in some poor countries ate a lot of sausages and we know that poor people have worse health. So it was poverty that produced the effect, not sausages


Associations of unprocessed and processed meat intake with mortality and cardiovascular disease in 21

ABSTRACT

Background
Dietary guidelines recommend limiting red meat intake because it is a major source of medium- and long-chain SFAs and is presumed to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Evidence of an association between unprocessed red meat intake and CVD is inconsistent.

Objective
The study aimed to assess the association of unprocessed red meat, poultry, and processed meat intake with mortality and major CVD.

Methods
The Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) Study is a cohort of 134,297 individuals enrolled from 21 low-, middle-, and high-income countries. Food intake was recorded using country-specific validated FFQs. The primary outcomes were total mortality and major CVD. HRs were estimated using multivariable Cox frailty models with random intercepts.

Results
In the PURE study, during 9.5 y of follow-up, we recorded 7789 deaths and 6976 CVD events. Higher unprocessed red meat intake (≥250 g/wk vs. <50 g/wk) was not significantly associated with total mortality (HR: 0.93; 95% CI: 0.85, 1.02; P-trend = 0.14) or major CVD (HR: 1.01; 95% CI: 0.92, 1.11; P-trend = 0.72). Similarly, no association was observed between poultry intake and health outcomes. Higher intake of processed meat (≥150 g/wk vs. 0 g/wk) was associated with higher risk of total mortality (HR: 1.51; 95% CI: 1.08, 2.10; P-trend = 0.009) and major CVD (HR: 1.46; 95% CI: 1.08, 1.98; P-trend = 0.004).

Conclusions
In a large multinational prospective study, we did not find significant associations between unprocessed red meat and poultry intake and mortality or major CVD. Conversely, a higher intake of processed meat was associated with a higher risk of mortality and major CVD.